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Summary Ellipsis is the phenomenon of something (anything linguistic) being elided (left out, but implicated and understood).  Although at bottom it is a syntactic phenomenon, in its commonest forms it falls under the heading of conventional implicature, giving it a substantial semantic component.  For example, "John and Mary went to the beach."  It is usually understood, though not strictly speaking part of the sentence meaning, that they went to the beach together.  If they did so, the word "together" has been elided.  Here the ellipsis is principally semantic, because there are other coherent ways to understand the sentence.  Very often what is elided is obvious from the parallel structure common in linguistic discourse.  For example, "John and Mary went to the beach.  So did Paul and Jane."  In this case, "so" functions semantically (though, of course, not syntactically) as a pronominal construct.  The meaning is reconstructed as "Paul and Jane also went to the beach."  (This is possible because language is frequently parallel, and such elisions are common because they are economical and yet normally understood as intended.)   The two-pronged test as to whether it is merely a syntactic phenomenon or one with a significant semantic component as well is how obvious the meaning is given the elision and whether other readings are plausible, though not likely intended (part of the speaker meaning).
Key works Merchant 2010 is the key work of choice; it reflects, roughly, the views expressed in the synopsis.
Introductions Merchant ms seems to be an excellent introduction.
Related categories

59 found
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  1. Discourse Parallelism, Ellipsis, and Ambiguity.N. Asher - 2001 - Journal of Semantics 18 (1):1-25.
    In this paper we combine a simple recovery mechanism for ellipsis with a general, discourse account of parallelism to account for a variety of phenomena concerning ellipsis, including Sag's wide scope puzzle and complex examples concerning sloppy identity. Our recovery mechanism requires an identity of logical structure between the recovered material and antecedent in the ellipsis. The recovered material and the antecedent are then interpreted independently in their respective contexts, subject only to the general discourse constraints on parallelism. These constraints (...)
  2. Review: Robert J. Stainton: Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language. [REVIEW]K. Bach - 2008 - Mind 117 (467):739-742.
  3. Implications of Pseudo-Gapping for Binding and the Representation of Information Structure* Mark R. Baltin.Mark Baltin - unknown
    In addition to the standard ellipsis process known as VP-ellipsis, another ellipsis process, known as pseudo-gapping, was first brought to the fore-front in the 1970’s by Sag (1976) and N. Levin (1986). This process elides subparts of a VP, as in (1): (1) Although I don’t like steak, I do___pizza. Developing ideas of K.S. Jayaseelan (Jayaseelan (1990)), Howard Lasnik has developed an analysis in which pseudo-gapping, which, in some instances, looks as though it is simply deleting a verb, is in (...)
  4. Epistemology Personalized.Matthew A. Benton - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):813-834.
    Recent epistemology has focused almost exclusively on propositional knowledge. This paper considers an underexplored area of epistemology, namely knowledge of persons: if propositional knowledge is a state of mind, consisting in a subject's attitude to a (true) proposition, the account developed here thinks of interpersonal knowledge as a state of minds, involving a subject's attitude to another (existing) subject. This kind of knowledge is distinct from propositional knowledge, but it exhibits a gradability characteristic of context-sensitivity, and admits of shifty thresholds. (...)
  5. On a Fictional Ellipsis.Rod Bertolet - 1984 - Erkenntnis 21 (2):189 - 194.
  6. Vp-Ellipsis And The Case For Representationalism In Semantics.Anne Bezuidenhout - 2006 - ProtoSociology 22:140-168.
    The debate between representationalists and anti-representationalists as I construe it in this chapter is a debate about whether truth-conditions are or should be assigned directly to natural language sentences (NLSs) – the anti-representationalist view – or whether they are or should be assigned instead to mental representations (MRs) that are related in some appropriate way to these NLSs. On the representationalist view, these MRs are related to NLSs in virtue of the fact that the MRs are the output of an (...)
  7. Is "A Needs X" Elliptical?E. R. Brandon - 1993 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 45:125-134.
    While "A needs X" often calls for supplementation by the Y X is needed for, Thomson, Wiggins and Braybrooke have argued that there is a sense of "need" for which this is unnecessary. But Gricean conventions for conversation allow us to use ellipsis in a unified account of "need" while explaining the data Thomson and Wiggins appeal to: nondetatchment of bare needs from more fully specified ones, avoidance of serious harm as a default filling of the Y-slot, and the apparent (...)
  8. Linearization-Based Word-Part Ellipsis.Rui P. Chaves - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (3):261-307.
    This paper addresses a phenomenon in which certain word-parts can be omitted. The evidence shows that the full range of data cannot be captured by a sublexical analysis, since the phenomena can be observed both in phrasal and in lexical environments. It is argued that a form of deletion is involved, and that the phenomena—lexical or otherwise—are subject to the same phonological, semantic, and syntactic constraints. In the formalization that is proposed, all of the above constraints are cast in a (...)
  9. Using Dependent Record Types in Clarification Ellipsis.Robin Cooper - unknown
    We present a sketch of a formulation of an analysis of clarification ellipsis using dependent record types as they have been developed in Martin-Lof type theory. Record types provide a semantic formalism which at the same time..
  10. On the Form and Interpretation of Ellipsis.Crit Cremers - 1983 - In Alice G. B. Ter Meulen (ed.), Studies in Model theoretic Semantics. Foris Publications.
  11. Ellipsis and Higher-Order Unification.Mary Dalrymple, Stuart M. Shieber & Fernando C. N. Pereira - 1991 - Linguistics and Philosophy 14 (4):399 - 452.
    We present a new method for characterizing the interpretive possibilities generated by elliptical constructions in natural language. Unlike previous analyses, which postulate ambiguity of interpretation or derivation in the full clause source of the ellipsis, our analysis requires no such hidden ambiguity. Further, the analysis follows relatively directly from an abstract statement of the ellipsis interpretation problem. It predicts correctly a wide range of interactions between ellipsis and other semantic phenomena such as quantifier scope and bound anaphora. Finally, although the (...)
  12. Ellipsis and Nonsentential Speech.Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton - unknown
  13. Shorthand, Syntactic Ellipsis, and the Pragmatic Determinants of What is Said.Reinaldo Elugardo & Robert J. Stainton - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (4):442–471.
    Our first aim in this paper is to respond to four novel objections in Jason Stanley's 'Context and Logical Form'. Taken together, those objections attempt to debunk our prior claims that one can perform a genuine speech act by using a subsentential expression—where by 'subsentential expression' we mean an ordinary word or phrase, not embedded in any larger syntactic structure. Our second aim is to make it plausible that, pace Stanley, there really are pragmatic determinants of the literal truthconditional content (...)
  14. Focus, Parallelism and Accommodation.Danny Fox - unknown
    It is well-known that constructions involving ellipsis share many properties with constructions that involve phonological reduction. The similarity between ECs and PRCs is semantic: the interpretation of both is constrained by the interpretation of an antecedent. Rooth and Tancredi have pointed out that this similarity follows from an independently needed theory of focus.
  15. Ellipsis and Discourse Coherence.Lyn Frazier & Charles Clifton - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (3):315-346.
    VP ellipsis generally requires a syntactically matching antecedent. However, many documented examples exist where the antecedent is not appropriate. Kehler, 533–575. 2002, Coherence, Reference and the Theory of Grammer, CSLI Publications. Stanford.) proposed an elegant theory which predicts a syntactic antecedent for an elided VP is required only for a certain discourse coherence relation, not for cause-effect relations. Most of the data Kehler used to motivate his theory come from corpus studies and thus do not consist of true minimal pairs. (...)
  16. Austinian Ifs Revisited – And Squared Away with the Equivalence Thesis and the Theory of Conditional Elements.Joseph S. Fulda - 2012 - RASK 36:51-71.
    This paper deals with Austinian ifs of every stripe within classical logic. It is argued that they are truth-functional and the theory of conditional elements is used. Ellipsis is key. Corrects an error in Fulda (2010) in translation and therefore scope. -/- The PDF is made available gratis by the Publisher.
  17. Reasoning with Imperatives Using Classical Logic.Joseph S. Fulda - 1995 - Sorites 3:7-11.
    As the journal is effectively defunct, I am uploading a full-text copy, but only of my abstract and article, and some journal front matter. -/- Note that the pagination in the PDF version differs from the official pagination because A4 and 8.5" x 11" differ. -/- Traditionally, imperatives have been handled with deontic logics, not the logic of propositions which bear truth values. Yet, an imperative is issued by the speaker to cause (stay) actions which change the state of affairs, (...)
  18. Resolving Ellipsis in Clarification.Jonathan Ginzburg & Robin Cooper - unknown
    We offer a computational analysis of the resolution of ellipsis in certain cases of dialogue clarification. We show that this goes beyond standard techniques used in anaphora and ellipsis resolution and requires operations on highly structured, linguistically heterogeneous representations. We characterize these operations and the representations on which they operate. We offer an analysis couched in a version of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar combined with a theory of information states (IS).
  19. Clarification, Ellipsis, and the Nature of Contextual Updates in Dialogue.Jonathan Ginzburg & Robin Cooper - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (3):297-365.
    The paper investigates an elliptical construction, Clarification Ellipsis, that occurs in dialogue. We suggest that this provides data that demonstrates that updates resulting from utterances cannot be defined in purely semantic terms, contrary to the prevailing assumptions of existing approaches to dynamic semantics. We offer a computationally oriented analysis of the resolution of ellipsis in certain cases of dialogue clarification. We show that this goes beyond standard techniques used in anaphora and ellipsis resolution and requires operations on highly structured, linguistically (...)
  20. Ellipsis.James Griffith - 2007 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 28 (2):194-200.
  21. Ellipsis: Of Poetry and the Experience of Language After Heidegger, Hölderlin, and Blanchot.James Griffith - 2007 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 28 (2):194-200.
  22. Ellipsis and Movement in the Syntax of Whether/Q...Or Questions.Chung-Hye Han & Maribel Romero - unknown
    In English, a non-wh-question may have a disjunctive phrase explicitly providing the choices that the question ranges over. For example, in (1), the disjunction or not indicates that the the choice is between the positive and the negative polarity for the relevant proposition, as spelled out in the yes/no (yn)-question reading (2) and in the answers (2a,b). Another example is (3). The disjunction in (3) can be understood as providing the choices that the question ranges over, hence giving rise to (...)
  23. Ellipsis and the Structure of Discourse.D. Hardt - 2004 - Journal of Semantics 21 (4):375-414.
    It is generally assumed that ellipsis requires parallelism between the clause containing the ellipsis and some antecedent clause. We argue that the parallelism requirement generated by ellipsis must be applied in accordance with discourse structure: a matching antecedent clause must be found that locally c‐commands the clause containing the ellipsis in the discourse tree. We show that this claim makes several correct predictions concerning the interpretation of ellipsis, both in terms of the selection of the antecedent (in sluicing and verb (...)
  24. Dynamic Interpretation of Verb Phrase Ellipsis.Daniel Hardt - 1999 - Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (2):187-221.
  25. Coherence Relations, Ellipsis and Contrastive Topics.P. Hendriks - 2004 - Journal of Semantics 21 (2):133-153.
    It has been observed (Kehler, 1996, Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society; Kehler, 2000 Linguistics and Philosophy, 23, 533–575; Kehler, 2002 Coherence, Reference, and the Theory of Grammar) that ellipsis resolution processes interact with the inference processes underlying the establishment of coherence relations in discourse. For example, gapping only co‐occurs with the coherence relation of Resemblance. In this paper I show that the reason why certain ellipsis processes only co‐occur with certain types of coherence relations (...)
  26. An Asymmetry in Voice Mismatches in VP-Ellipsis and Pseudogapping.Jason Merchant http://homeuchicagoedu/~merchant/publicationshtml - manuscript
  27. Few Dogs Eat Whiskas or Cats Alpo.Kyle Johnson - unknown
    One of the interests in the Gapping construction is the headache it causes for those trying to get constituency structure right. On the assumption that Gapping, like other processes of sentence grammar, respects constituency, it is very hard to deliver the right constituents in cases such as (1). (1) a. Some consider him honest and others consider him pleasant. b. The faculty brought scotch to the party and the students brought beer to the party. c. The girls occasionally ate peanuts (...)
  28. Gapping Isn't (VP) Ellipsis.Kyle Johnson - manuscript
    Pseudogapping is no misnomer. Despite the many tempting similarities, Gapping and Pseudogapping are distinct constructions. Pseudogapping is a special instance of VP Ellipsis, while Gapping, I will argue, is a special instance of across-the-board movement. Squeezing Gapping into across-the-board movement has its own discomforts, however, which I will suggest can be remedied by re-tailoring our syntax to include string-based output constraints. I give a sketch of one such alteration that involves apparent Left Branch Condition violations.
  29. What VP Ellipsis Can Do, and What It Can't, but Not Why.Kyle Johnson - 2001 - In Mark Baltin & Chris Collins (eds.), The Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory. Blackwell. pp. 439--479.
  30. (Close) the Door, the King (Is Going): The Development of Elliptical Resolution in Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā.Malcolm Keating - 2017 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 45 (5):911-938.
    This paper examines three commentaries on the Śabdapariccheda in Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Ślokavārttika, along with the the seventeenth century Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā work, the Mānameyodaya. The focus is the Mīmāṃsā principle that only sentences communicate qualified meanings and Kumārila’s discussion of a potential counter-example to this claim–single words which appear to communicate such content. I argue that there is some conflict among commentators over precisely what Kumārila describes with the phrase sāmarthyād anumeyetvād, although he is most likely describing ellipsis completion through arthāpatti. (...)
  31. Coherence and the Resolution of Ellipsis.Andrew Kehler - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (6):533-575.
    Despite the attention that various forms of ellipsis have received inthe literature, the conditions under which a representation of anutterance may serve as a suitable referent for interpreting subsequentelliptical forms remain poorly understood. This fundamental questionremains as a point of contention, particularly because there are datato support various conflicting approaches that attempt to characterizethese conditions within a single module of language processing. Weshow a previously unnoticed pattern in VP-ellipsis data with respectto the type of coherence relation extant between the antecedentand (...)
  32. Part III. Convert and Non-Movement Operations in Survive-Minimalism: Syntactic Identity in Survive-Minimalism: Ellipsis and the Derivational Identity Hypothesis.Gregory M. Kobele - 2009 - In Michael T. Putnam (ed.), Towards a Derivational Syntax: Survive-Minimalism. John Benjamins Pub. Company.
  33. Classifying Ellipsis in Dialogue: A Machine Learning Approach.Shalom Lappin - unknown
    Raquel FERN ´ ANDEZ, Jonathan GINZBURG and Shalom LAPPIN Department of Computer Science King’s College London Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK {raquel,ginzburg,lappin}
  34. The Interpretatin of Ellipsis.Shalom Lappin - 1996 - In The Handbook of Contemporary Semantic Theory. Blackwell. pp. 145--176.
  35. A Sequenced Model of Anaphora and Ellipsis Resolution.Shalom Lappin - unknown
    I compare several types of knowledge-based and knowledge-poor approaches to anaphora and ellipsis resolution. The former are able to capture fine-grained distinctions that depend on lexical meaning and real world knowledge, but they are generally not robust. The latter show considerable promise for yielding wide coverage systems. However, they consistently miss a small but significant subset of cases that are not accessible to rough-grained techniques of intepretation. I propose a sequenced model which first applies the most computationally efficient and inexpensive (...)
  36. A Type-Theoretic Approach to Anaphora and Ellipsis Resolution.Shalom Lappin & C. Fox - unknown
    We present an approach to anaphora and ellipsis resolution in which pronouns and elided structures are interpreted by the dynamic identification in discourse of type constraints on their semantic representations. The content of these conditions is recovered in context from an antecedent expression. The constraints define separation types in Property Theory with Curry Typing, an expressive first-order logic with Curry typing that we have proposed as a formal framework for natural language semantics.
  37. Talking About Numbers: Easy Arguments for Mathematical Realism. [REVIEW]Richard Lawrence - 2017 - History and Philosophy of Logic 38 (4):390-394.
  38. Review of Robert J. Stainton, Words and Thoughts: Subsentences, Ellipsis, and the Philosophy of Language[REVIEW]Edouard Machery - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (6).
  39. Ellipsis.Robert C. May - 2002 - In Lynn Nadel (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan.
  40. An Asymmetry in Voice Mismatches in VP-Ellipsis and Pseudogapping.Jason Merchant - manuscript
    VP-ellipsis and pseudogapping in English show a previously unnoticed asymmetry in their tolerance for voice mismatch: while VP-ellipsis allows mismatches in voice between the elided VP and its antecedent, pseudogapping does not. This difference is unexpected under current analyses of pseudogapping, which posit that pseudogapping is a kind of VP-ellipsis. I show that this difference falls out naturally if the target of deletion in the two cases differs slightly: in VP-ellipsis, a node lower than [voi(ce)] is deleted, while in pseudogapping (...)
  41. Voice and Ellipsis.Jason Merchant - manuscript
    Elided VPs and their antecedent VPs can mismatch in voice, with passive VPs being elided under apparent identity with active antecedent VPs, and vice versa. Such voice mismatches are not allowed in any other kind of ellipsis, such as sluicing and other clausal ellipses. These latter facts indicate that the identity relation in ellipsis is sensitive to syntactic form, not merely to semantic form. The VP-ellipsis facts fall into place if the head that determines voice is external to the phrase (...)
  42. Gender Mismatches Under Nominal Ellipsis.Jason Merchant - unknown
    Masculine/feminine pairs of human-denoting nouns in Greek fall into three distinct classes under predicative ellipsis: those that license ellipsis of their counterpart regardless of gender, those that only license ellipsis of a same-gendered noun, and those in which the masculine noun of the pair licenses ellipsis of the feminine version, but not vice versa. The three classes are uniform in disallowing any gender mismatched ellipses in argument uses, however. This differential behavior of gender in nominal ellipsis can be captured by (...)
  43. Not All Genders Are Created Equal: Evidence From Nominal Ellipsis in Greek.Jason Merchant - unknown
    It is well understood that the analysis of elliptical phenomena has the potential to inform our understanding of the syntax-semantics interface, as it forces the analyst to confront directly the mechanisms for generating meanings without the usual forms that give rise to them. But facts from ellipsis have an equal potential to illuminate our understanding of the structure of the lexicon. A close investigation of nominal ellipses in Greek shows that gender features are not all created equal: the values of (...)
  44. Three Kinds of Ellipsis: Syntactic, Semantic, Pragmatic?Jason Merchant - 2010 - In Francois Recanati, IIsidora Stojanovic & Neftali Villanueva (eds.), Context-Dependence, Perspective, and Relativity (pp. 141-192).
    The term ‘ellipsis’ can be used to refer to a variety of phenomena: syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic. In this article, I discuss the recent comprehensive survey by Stainton 2006 of these kinds of ellipsis with respect to the analysis of nonsententials and try to show that despite his trenchant criticisms and insightful proposal, some of the criticisms can be evaded and the insights incorporated into a semantic ellipsis analysis, making a ‘divide-and-conquer’ strategy to the properties of nonsententials feasible after all. (...)
  45. Fragments and Ellipsis.Jason Merchant - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (6):661 - 738.
    Fragmentary utterances such as short answers and subsentential XPs without linguistic antecedents are proposed to have fully sentential syntactic structures, subject to ellipsis. Ellipsis in these cases is preceded by A-movement of the fragment to a clause-peripheral position; the combination of movement and ellipsis accounts for a wide range of connectivity and anti-connectivity effects in these structures. Fragment answers furthermore shed light on the nature of islands, and contrast with sluicing in triggering island effects; this is shown to follow from (...)
  46. Ellipsis.Jason Merchant - unknown
    The term ellipsis has been applied to a wide range of phenomena across the centuries, from any situation in which words appear to be missing (in St. Isidore’s definition), to a much narrower range of particular constructions. Ellipsis continues to be of central interest to theorists of language exactly because it represents a situation where the usual form/meaning mappings, the algorithms, structures, rules, and constraints that in nonelliptical sentences allow us to map sounds and gestures onto their corresponding meanings, break (...)
  47. Variable Island Repair Under Ellipsis.Jason Merchant - unknown
    One of the most startling, and hence theoretically challenging, properties of wh-movement in Sluicing is that it can move wh-phrases out of islands, an important observation which goes back to Ross (1969). Equally challenging is the fact that similar wh-movement out of VP Ellipsis sites remains for the most part illicit. Briefly put, it seems that for a wide range of cases, deletion of an IP containing an island voids the effect of that island for wh-movement, while deletion of a (...)
  48. Hybrid Indexicals and Ellipsis.Stefano Predelli - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (3):385-403.
    In this essay, I explain how certain suggestions put forth by Frege. Wittgenstein, and Schlick regarding the interpretation of indexical expressions may be incorporated within a systematic semantic account. I argue that the 'hybrid' approach they propose is preferable to more conventional systems, in particular when it comes to the interpretation of cases of cross-contextual ellipsis. I also explain how the hybrid view entails certain important and independently motivated distinctions among contextually dependent expressions, for instance between 'here' and 'local'.
  49. Syntax and Interpretation.Francesco Pupa & Erika Troseth - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (2):185-209.
    In his book Language in Context, Jason Stanley provides a novel solution to certain interpretational puzzles (Stanley, 2007). The aphonic approach, as we call it, hangs upon a substantial syntactic thesis. Here, we provide theoretical and empirical arguments against this particular syntactic thesis. Moreover, we demonstrate that the interpretational puzzles under question admit of a better solution under the explicit approach.
  50. Reduced Conditionals and Focus.Maribel Romero - unknown
    The term “Reduced Conditional” is coined by Schwarz (1996, 1998, 2000) to designate a certain kind of ellipsis that may occur in the consequent of a Conditional in German, as illustrated in (1): (1a) is a Full Conditional (FC, henceforth) and (1b) is its Reduced Conditional (RC) counterpart.
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